Supporters decked in green and gold gathered at the Union Buildings, looking over Meintjieskop in Pretoria, from early on Thursday morning to send the Springboks off on their Webb Ellis trophy tour, which will be criss-crossing the country.
While President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed South Africa’s national rugby team, showering them with praise, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi took his place next to the president.
The Boks greeted their adoring fans before they kicked off their trophy tour from the Union Buildings in Pretoria. (Azarrah Karrim/News24)
They cheered and chanted, calling for their favourite players, going wild if a Bok happened to give them attention.
“Mapimpi, Mapimpi, Mapimpi!” The crowd chanted, finding its voice to call on the try-scoring Bok.
Makazole Mapimpi conceded and greeted his fans with a cheeky wave.
Ramaphosa concluded his praises as the Boks stepped forward to finally greet their adoring fans.
"You have consolidated the unity of the nation and we want to savour this moment. We thank you for being the catalyst to ensure we can continue to build our nation," Ramaphosa said, sending the boys on their way.
As players took turns to hold the Web Ellis trophy high above their heads, the crowd cheered louder each time.
They danced and sang proudly South African songs, waving their South African flags in the air for the players to see.
One supporter told News24 that her son had bought a Springbok shirt in 2007, the last time the Boks won the Rugby World Cup.
Today, she said, she got the shirt signed by the players.
"I will cherish this forever, my son will be so happy," she said.
A few more minutes of singing and dancing in the crowd and the team’s bus darted off, giving their fans one last wave of recognition as they kicked off their trophy tour in Pretoria, before heading to Johannesburg and Soweto.